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Maha Chai fishing village (½ day)
If you like to make a lovely and affordable trip out of the bustling city, go local and travel to the old fishingn village Maha Chai, about an hour away from Bangkok.
You can travel to this village by local train. You drive through markets, small villages and almost through people’s living room or kitchen. The ride itself is already a wonderful experience.
In Bangkok you have to travel to Wongwian Yai railway station at the Thonburi side of the river in Bangkok. You can go there by taxi or skytrain. From there you take the local train to the village. Trains leave approximately every 50 minutes until 7 pm. A ticket for local people is free, a ticket for ‘Farangs’, as they call foreigners, is 10 Baht. The ride to Maha Chai takes about 50 minutes and it makes several stops. Click here for more information about the train and Mahachai Market.
In Maha Chai you can visit the local fish market or a fish restaurant. And remember; if you like it more fresh, you’ll have to catch it yourself. A good and affordable restaurant for example is Lab Lom, which is visited by the Thai King and Queen.
You can also make a boat ride through the Maha Chai harbour. There are several people who will approach you for that. A reasonable price is about 400 Baht for half an hour or 800 baht for one hour. And definitely take time for some Kodak moments in the village before taking a train back to Bangkok.
Ayutthaya, the former capitol (1 day)
If you’re interested in some history of Thailand, of course you need to visit Ayutthaya, the former capitol of Siam.
There are several ways to go there. You can take a taxi for a day (But you need to tell the driver exactly where you want to go), you can go by train (still you have to arrange your transportation in Ayutthaya, which is a bit expensive), You can go by bus (same problem as by train), or go by boat (only there are no scheduled boat services).
A very complete and convenient way to see Ayutthaya is a package. There are several operators, for example Grand Pearl Cruises or River Sun Cruises. Early morning you depart by bus from River City (next to Royal orchid Sheraton). In one hour you drive to Bang Pa-in Palace. Next you will visit three of Ayutthaya’s most famous temples in the old centre of Ayutthaya. Wat Phrasrisanphet, Wihan Phramongkhon Bophit with a huge golden Buddha and Wat Mahatad with the famous Buddha face in a tree.
After those visits you go back to Bangkok on a relaxing cruise boat while enjoying a lunch buffet. Prices are approximately 1.950 Baht per person. A lot more then do-it-yourself, but it’s very convenient and complete. It is worth it.
Wat Pho Temple (1-2 hrs)
There are many temples but the most important one to visit is Wat Pho also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
It is one of the largest and oldest wats (temples) in Bangkok and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images, as well as one of the largest single Buddha images of 43 metres length: the Reclining Buddha.
The temple complex is open every day from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. The entrance fee is 100 baht (including one drinking water). And of course you have to wear appropriate clothes.
You will find Wat Pho next to the Grand Palace. You can go there by taxi or by boat. Take a normal Chao Phraya Express Boat (orange flag) or Chao Phraya Tourist Boat (blue flag) from Sathorn Pier (under Saphan Taksin Skytrain station) for example. Get off at Pier number 8 and the temple is now in walking distance. The Express boat costs only 15 baht and the Tourist boat 150 baht per person.
Wat Po Massage school (1 hr)
Wat Pho is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. And the temple is home to one of the earliest Thai massage schools. You can get a foot massage or traditional Thai massage.
The temple is located next to the Grand Palace and you will find the Massage school at the rear of the temple complex. It is a bit more expensive as other massage salons in the city but still very affordable. An hour foot massage for example costs 460 baht.
It is lovely to plan your visit late afternoon after you walked a lot through town and your feet need a relaxing treatment. The massage school is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. And if you like to learn how to do the massage yourself, click here.
Jim Thompson House (2 hrs)
A quick escape from the busy and noisy shopping area around Rama I Road is Jim Thompson House. This museum is a complex of various old Thai structures that the American businessman Jim Thompson collected from all parts of Thailand in the 1950s and 60s.
Thompson gained his wealth with silk trade and the name Jim Thompson became a popular brand for top quality silk. This can be bought from the museum shop as well. The museum also houses a delicious Thai restaurant and it is wonderful to spend some time in this peaceful oasis in downtown Bangkok.
Jim Thompson House is nearby MBK shopping centre, and the address is Soi Kasemsan (2) Song, opposite the National Stadium on Rama I Road. The museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. There is a guided tour and the entrance fee is 100 baht per person.
Floating Market (½ day)
A market at the water is always wonderful, but if you want to see one of Bangkok’s floating markets, you have to get up very early, as the markets are running only in the morning. At these markets you see small boats in tiny canals with beautiful people selling their goods like fresh fruits, vegetables and food. But most of all it’s absolutely picturesque to see. Bringing a camera is mandatory!
You can go to Damnoen Saduak market outside Bangkok. Take a bus from the Southern Bus Terminal (+66 (0)2 434 5557-8) to Samut Sangkhram Ratchaburi province, 80 km southwest of Bangkok. You can then walk along the passageway to the market, or take a boat to the market pier. The nicest way to experience the market is to be on a boat yourself.
Canal tour by long tail boat ( 1 - 2 hrs)
A very relaxing trip, which gives you a different view on the city, is a canal tour by long-tail boat. These are speedboats with a huge lorry engine, which you can rent just for yourself. You can make a tour at the Chao Phraya River with views at several temples and the Royal Palace and also drive through very small canals (Klongs) where you can see the real life of Thai families.
Tell the boat driver exactly where you want to go, how long the tour will be and how much it will cost, and preferably before you leave. Not all of the drivers speak English very well, so someone else’s help is needed sometimes.
There are many places where you can start your tour. A good one is under ‘Saphan Taksin’ Sky train station. Prices are about 1.000 to 1.500 Baht for one or 1½ hour tour and a boat can hold about 6-8 people.
Discover Bangkok on a bicycle (3 hrs)
It sounds a bit dangerous to go on a bicycle in Bangkok’s crazy traffic, but it is not. Actually it is really wonderful to do a cycling tour. You drive through markets and people’s kitchens. You cross the river with a boat and bike along canals and temples.
There are several operators to do a tour like this. The first one ever started it is Co van Kessel. Then there’s Bangkok Bike Riders or the Amazing Bangkok Cyclist.
Red Cross snake farm (3 hrs)
If you like to see snakes or like to learn about them and want to see how venom is collected to produce a serum, go to Red Cross snake farm in Bangkok. There are only two snake farms like this in the world. One in Brazil and this one. The snake farm is one of the largest producers of anti-venom serum in Asia.
You can see many species in the snake museum and twice a day there is a snake handling show. Visitors are given a quick overview of some of Thailand’s most dangerous snakes and of the Institute’s production of anti-venom. Experienced snake handlers tangle with Cobras, Kraits, and Vipers. You may even get to hold a 2-meter long Python.
The snake farm is found on 1871 Rama IV road. The closest Sky train stop is Saladaeng. The shows begin at 11 am and 2.30 pm on weekdays and 11 am on holidays. The admission is 200 Baht for foreigners and 40 Baht for Thais.
Ancient City (½ day)
Ancient City is the world's largest open-air museum. It occupies an area of 200 acres. Construction began in the latter part of 1963. This unique attraction is the center of scaled-down and actual-size replicas of important historical sites of various provinces such as Prasat Hin Phanom Rung, Wat Mahathat Sukhothai, Phraphuttabat Saraburi, Phrathat Mueang Nakhon, Phrathat Chaiya, and much more.
Furthermore, there are rare traditional folk arts and cultures, some of which are hard to come by nowadays. For those who wish to learn about Thailand, they will not be disappointed here. There are several places where you can buy drinks and a wonderful place to eat is the old floating market.
The entrance fee is 350 Baht for foreigners. The opening hours are 8 am to 5 pm. It’s advisable to go there early as you can easily spend a whole day in there. There are hop-on-hop-off busses, you can walk, bike or rent an electrical min car to travel around.
Ancient Siam is located at Tambon Bang Pu Mai, at Km. 33.5 of the old Sukhumvit Road, 8 kilometres from Samut Prakan town. You can take a taxi from Bangkok, this will take you about 45 minutes. Drive to Samut Prakan on Sukhumwit Road. As you arrive in Samut Prakan, turn left taking the bypass around the city following the signs for Chon Buri. From the City Hall it is 8,1 km. If you are driving on Srinakarin Road, drive to the end of the road and turn left. From the intersection, Ancient Siam is 6,92 km. You can also take a sky grain first and then a taxi (see next travel tip).
Erawan Museum (2-3 hrs)
Just outside Bangkok, in Samut Prakan, you will find the Erawan Museum. It is well known for its giant three-headed elephant art display. The three storeys inside the elephant contain antiquities and priceless collections of ancient religious objects belonging to Khun Lek Viriyapant who is the museum owner.
But there are more buildings to discover and a stroll through the lush tropical gardens is wonderful as well. The museum is nearby Ancient City, so you could make that a combination trip.
The entrance fee for foreigners is 400 baht per person. The opening hours are daily from 9 am to 8 pm. Best way to go to the museum is by taking a sky train to station On Nut first. From this station, take a taxi to the museum.
Grand Palace (1 hr)
One of the landmarks in Bangkok not to miss is the Grand Palace, a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The present King Bhumibol Adulyadej doesn’t reside here anymore, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events.
You can get a tour in the palace everyday between 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. A ticket costs 400 baht per person. The palace is located at Na Phra Lan Road.
You can go to the palace by taxi or by boat. Take a normal Chao Phraya Express Boat (orange flag) from Sathorn Pier (under Saphan Taksin Skytrain station) for example. Get off at Pier number 8 (Tha Tien) and the Grand Palace is now in walking distance. The boat costs only 15 baht per person.
Boat trip to Nonthaburi and Ko Kred (½ -1 day)
A great ½ day or daytrip outside the bustling city is a boat trip to Nonthaburi. This is the last stop from the Chao Phraya Express boat (orange flag) in the northern direction. The stop is number 30 and is called Nonthaburi Pier. Service lasts from 6 am am to 7 pm, leaving the pier every 20 minutes. The boat ride takes approximately an hour and is very relaxing.
You can take the boat from several piers in Bangkok, for example: Sathorn Pier (under Saphan Taksin skytrain station), Oriental Pier or Tha Tien Pier (Royal Palace and Wat Po). More information about the Express Boat can be found here. http://www.chaophrayaexpressboat.com/en/home/
In Nonthaburi, which is actually a suburb of Bangkok, you can walk around and visit the lovely market. It is a market similar to Chatuchak but smaller and also open on weekdays. The goods for sale are similar and there is a large section selling fresh products as well. For sure this is a great place for picturesque moments.
From Nonthaburi you can take a river taxi to the island of Ko Kred. At this island you can have a stroll and buy some lovely Thai pottery. If you only like to go to Ko Kred, there is a once-weekly Chao Phraya Express boat, which leaves the Sathorn Pier (under Saphan Taksin skytrain station) every Sunday at 9 am and visits a number of attractions before returning at 3:30 pm.
Island escape 1: Koh Samed
Koh Samed page.
Ko Samed, or just Samed as the locals say is a Thai island not far away from Bangkok. It is a small island blessed with year round sunshine, blue skies and a warm Ocean.
Island escape 2: Koh Kood & Koh Mak
Koh Kood & Koh Mak page.
Koh Kood and Koh Mak are two of the most untouched Thai islands. If you like to avoid the real touristy hotspots in Thailand, you should go here.
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Language of the world
Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Bangkok.